BBL plebiscite eyed in November, says Zubiri

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 17 2018 07:52 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte (center) poses with Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza (left), Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim (2nd left), chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Ghazali Jaafar (2nd R), vice-chairman of the MILF and Mohagher Iqbal (right) on July 17, 2017. Ted Ajibe, Agence France-Presse/File

MANILA- A plebiscite may be held in November this year for the ratification of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, Senate Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri said Tuesday.

If ratified by November, Zubiri said President Rodrigo Duterte can already appoint members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority as early as December.

The transition authority will be the forerunner of the Bangsamoro Parliament.

The senator made the remarks ahead of the resumption of the bicameral conference committee deliberations finalizing the House and Senate version of the proposed bill.

If finalized on Tuesday, the bill will be ratified by Congress in separate sessions on Monday, in time for Duterte's signing before he delivers his third State of the Nation Address on the same day.

Malacañang earlier said Duterte will sign the proposed BBL before he delivers his SONA.

The BBL, enabling law of the 2014 peace deal between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, will install a Bangsamoro political entity in place of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). 

It is envisioned to grant wider self-rule to predominantly Muslim provinces and cities.

Should the BBL be rejected in the plebiscite, Zubiri explained that the ARMM will be retained. 

If the bill, however, gains favor during the plebiscite, the current ARMM will be known as the Bangsamoro in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.

Duterte is banking on the bill's passage to heal "historical injustices" suffered by the Moros.

The bill failed to pass under the previous administration as some provisions faced questions on constitutionality.